04 May 2008

Le Loup @ Bug Jar

Was back at the Bug Jar once again on Saturday night for Le Loup, a DC-based septet that is picking up some critical steam (see NPR). Seems these days that any band with more than 4 members that includes some unusual instrumentation is going to get the Arcade Fire comparisons, accurate or not. These guys fall into that trap, if it was even a trap, but the comparison could not be more spot-on in this case. I mean, we're not talking clones here, and it really has nothing to do with instrumentation. It is all about the rhythms, the energy, and the spirit of the music. Le Loup captures all of those things that the Arcade Fire possesses (ok, maybe "all" would be overstating it) in their own unique fashion. Most of their sound comes from their triple guitar attack, backed by some fantastic drumming, solid unshowy basswork, and then sprinkle in some keys, and the occasional french horn and banjo. All of it is semi-conducted by their fearless leader Sam Simkoff, who split time between banjo, keys, vocals, and various percussive instruments, including a water cooler bottle. He is the brains behind this operation and gathered the rest of his crew from ads on craigslist. Hopefully Mr. Newmark gets some credit in the album's liner notes. The worst part of the set was its length at about 40m. Couldn't even stretch it to an hour, eh? Why can't bands with little material just throw in a cover or two? C'mon!

The opener, Lou Lou and the Sharp Sword, features Lou Lou, one of the Thievery Corporations lead singers, and a trio of local musicians on bass, drums, and guitar. Again the drummer was from Tiger Cried Beef, so I now have seen him play in 3 out of the 4 shows I have see this year at the Bug Jar in three entirely different bands. And he still kills. Appropriately enough for an evening where the featured act had a french name (Le Loup=The Wolf, FYI), Lou Lou sang in french for most of the band's set. She had a fantastic voice btw, and the backing band was killer. They played a nice blend, with a loungey French psychedelic vibe, nice sulrty blues, dancey pop. They were a ton of fun, and she thought so too. Hope to catch them again.

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